microchipToday DEFRA made an announcement that from 2016 it will be compulsory for dogs to be microchipped in England.  As someone with 30 years in the dog world as a behaviourist and rescuer and also having run 2 stray pounds, this horrifies me. We already have laws against dog poop not being picked up yet it is everywhere.  Pounds are already full of chipped strays and dumped dogs so how exactly is this going to help?

I am a fan of microchipping, all dogs through my rescue are chipped to me.  There are lots of cases of pets reunited years after being lost and in principle, chipping is a good thing.  However, with no law to back it up, what is the point?  It is at least 10 years since I first wrote about dogs needing a passport type document or car log book type.  All dogs chipped, the document as proof of ownership and you wouldn’t buy or adopt a dog without it.

This week, PetLog, a huge chip database put on their site that microchip willow1certificates are not legal proof of ownership.  Who exactly advises government that this is a good idea?  How will chipping do anything other than add to more out of date records and more dogs in pounds with chips?  Dog wardens already take home dogs to be told “not mine, sold to man in pub last week”, or “take him to pound, we don’t want him”.  How will more chips change that?

Dog problems in this country are at epidemic proportions.  Untrained, dangerous dogs on the street, puppy farmers producing sick and mentally affected dogs, stolen dogs, poop mess everywhere.  Seriously, will more chipping stop this?

There needs to be cradle to grave accountability and legal enforcement.  The chip needs to be a step in proving ownership, the dogs need passports that go with every owner and there needs to be a way for the original owner/breeder/rescue staying on the record.

So how do we move forward?  I suggest:

  • New laws for consideration of chip records as legal ownership and passport type document compulsory
  • Original owner/breeder/rescue permanently kept on record, even if current “keeper” changes
  • Creation of local task forces that consist of RSPCA, Dog Warden, Police,  Rescues, trainers,dog owners and any other useful people who work together in the community to educate and assist
  • Register of “rescues” kept to stop the appalling, irresponsible wave of people passing on unassessed, not neutered, not vaccinated dogs who add to the stray and dumped dog problem
  • Breeding to have a central registration, which chipping will make easier so that anyone breeding a litter will have the fact on record.

Only legally enforced proof of ownership can tackle strays, attacks, dumped or stolen dogs.  As long as people can say “not mine, I sold it” they will.

Am talking to lots of people about this, I am sure we will find some great ideas out there. but we have to start NOW.

One of the  news reportshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21345730




About safepets uk

Pet training and behaviour company treating cats, dogs and livestock. Range of free advice on website. Covering Midlands to London. Training and behaviour advisers to Pet Education Trust.

7 responses »

  1. Sam Tatters says:

    Re: rehoming of un-neutered dogs. Look at the flipside of this – castrating an anxious dog causes him more anxiety meaning he is *more likely* to bite (or, as the government calls is become “dangerous”). As for spaying a bitch, I may not be a subject matter expert but I’m of the belief that spaying a bitch who’s just about to come into season, or has recently finished a season can be potentially life-threatening, not to mention possible behaviour issues associated with a sudden drop in hormones.

    As for Microchipping – I’m with you, laws on fouling, ID tags, and keeping dogs on leash are neither followed nor enforced, I don’t believe this will be any different,

    • safepets uk says:

      Hi Sam
      certainly a badly timed spay can be life threatening, my comments and feelings are about the appalling behaviour of some “rescues”.
      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Frankland says:

    Maybe using QR codes attached to the collar as a quick check of passport with the details easily accessible online would be a start. They are easily readable by most smart phones and thus details can be check on the spot rather than the passport having to be carried.

    • safepets uk says:

      Technology always useful! Collar tags etc helpful, scanners should be cared by dog wardens anyway. DEFRA say the enforcement will be “worked out over the next few years”

  3. Trica Kennedy says:

    I agree with what is said ,but with the amount of dogs which are going missing/stolen what is the use of more information on a collar tag, collars are easily removed.
    Both of my dogs are chipped and have passports, I had concerns when the microchip was first introduced about the migration of said chip, vets say now that todays chips stay in place in the neck and shoulder area, NOT SO as one of my dogs chip has moved from between the shoulders to the front of the chest area, I have known dogs where the chip has embeded into the the dogs heart !!!
    with the fact that living costs keep rising and not the wage to cover it, more dogs will be taken to shelters or just dumped. I think that passports are the way to go but could be improved with a photograph of the dog, which like human passports are made tamper proof, and photo is updated every so many years as the dog ages.

    • safepets uk says:

      Chips do move, I am a microchipper myself. They seem to do it less, but still do. I do though yet have to see any proven, reported case of one that moved that caused a health problem. I know lots of people say they have “heard” of it, but I’d like to see vets reports. I am old enough to remember life before chips, and it was much worse.
      I agree collar info has limited use because dogs lose collars and people throw them away if they steal a dog.

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